Robert Morris - The Priority of Prayer
I want to talk to you today about The Priority of Prayer. I sent an email this last week. If you didn't get it, then you might not be on our email list. If you'd like to be, great. If you don't want to be, tell us. Sorry about that, but I just felt like we're in a tumultuous time in our nation. I mean, we have an election that hasn't been called yet. We have a worldwide pandemic that's growing even as we speak. We have civil unrest in our nation right now going on. And so, what do you do? And the gist of the email was to hold on to hope because our hope is not in a candidate or in a Democrat or Republican. And please when I say that, I don't mean to offend you.
If you're on one side of the aisle and you think, Well, Pastor Robert's on the other side. I'd rather us not be on one side of the aisle or not. I'd rather us be believers who might have a difference of opinion but we love each other anyway. So, but we're in this season. I spoke with a congressman this last week. United States congressman from Florida called me. Set up a phone call and he just wanted to tell me that The God I Never Knew, the book changed his life and his wife's life, and they got filled with the Holy Spirit. He's a United States Congressman. So they all need to get filled with the Holy Spirit. But anyway, we're in this season where I believe what we need to do is pray.
And as I prayed about the message this weekend, I was reminded of a time about ten years ago when I felt like that the enemy was attacking more. That's the phrase I was using. I feel like the enemy is attacking more. And I don't know if you thought that. If you thought the attacks of the enemy are increasing. And so I was in, with a friend of mine, Dr. Jim Morocco. And I go places to minister and when you're called by God, you have to go everywhere that God calls you to minister. He pastors in Maui, Hawaii. And so Debbie and I, when we go, we normally suffer for Jesus for at least a week there. But you just have to. It's the call of God in your life. You have to suffer wherever you go.
So, anyway, but I was speaking for him and I was telling him, "I feel like that the attacks of the enemy are increasing". And he said something to me that changed my life. He said, "I think you're giving Satan too much credit". And I thought wow, what a statement. And he said to me, "Robert if you're gonna blame Satan when things are bad, then are you gonna thank him when things are good"? I mean, which one is it? I got to thinking about that. I got to thinking, well, so if I feel like that I'm in a season where he's not attacking as much, should I send him a gift basket or like, "Thanks for decreasing your attacks". So, we're not in a season where Satan is attacking more. We're in a season where Satan is attacking. And it's been since the garden. He's always attacking. But what might be happening is that many of his attacks are landing more. And the only reason that happens is because the people of God are praying less.
So I want you to think about this. We need to pray and things change when we pray. God has given us the power of prayer. So, I want to talk to you, I only have two points today, but it will not shorten the message so don't get excited, but only two points today. Here's number one, Take it seriously. You need to take it seriously, what's happening in our country and around the world right now. You need to always take spiritual warfare seriously. You need to take prayer seriously. So, I want to start in Ephesians 6 and only look at one verse, but just to remind you about the war that we're in. Ephesians 6:12, For we do not wrestle against Republicans, or Democrats. We don't wrestle against people. We don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities.
Now, underline that word because we're gonna come back to it and talk about it. I just want you to also notice that all that we're wrestling against here, all of these words are plural. So, it's not just Satan, it's demonic forces. Forces, plural. Watch the plurality. Maybe you've never seen for plurality in verse 12, but watch it. ...principalities against powers, against the rulers, plural, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts, plural, of wickedness in the heavenly places. Now, it says principalities. A principality comes from two words, ipality means a city. So, a principality is a prince over a city. You've heard another word, similar, municipality. ipality is a city. muni is very similar, from the Latin to our word many.
So it means "many over a city". And by the way, it's not city council, it's the citizens. In other words, it's ruled by the citizens who elect leaders which is like our nation. Our nation is a democracy. It is the Democratic Republic. It is ruled by constitutional law by leaders that we elect. That's a democracy and a republic. A democratic republic. Okay? So, a principality is a prince over a city. Now, we got it right there in Ephesians 6, but is this all through scripture? Yes. Do you remember when Daniel was praying and fasting 21 days? And by the way, January 1st, we want a fast again. We do it every year, 21 days. And I want you to fast however God tells you. Okay?
So, if God tells you to fast desserts, it's great. Some of you would think, the Lord would... I see one guy shaking his head, the Lord would never... See, look at you, "No, that's not what God's telling me. I'm gonna fast broccoli, pastor". So whatever God tells you. Okay? So whatever the Lord... I'm just having fun with you. So whatever the Lord tells you, just fast something so that it reminds you to pray. So, we're gonna do that for 21 days. By the way, think about this. We do this every year, and every four years, January 20th is Inauguration Day. And here we're taking and fasting the first 21 days of the year.
So Daniel was on a 21-day fast and let me show you, an angel comes to him in answer to his fast and his prayer and this is what it says, "Then he said to me," Daniel 10:12, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day". So this is on the 21st day, "from the first day that you set your heart to understand," another word would be, pray, "and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard;" Your prayers were heard. And I've come because of your words, because of your prayers. "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes," Now we're understanding what a prince is and I'll explain to you in a moment, because we know what Michael is, "...came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia". There are not only princes there are kings. There's a hierarchy among the demonic forces. And you say, Well boy, you talked about princes and that bothered me.
Now you're talking about there are kings in the demonic world. Don't let that bother you because we know the King of kings. So don't get bothered by that. So a prince is an Angel, and the prince of Persia in this instance, that's withstanding prayer would be a fallen angel, because we know Michael, it says Michael, the chief prince. We know he's an angel, and he's one of the three archangels named in the Bible. So he's an archangel. He's a ruling angel. So there's an angel that came to Daniel whose trying to bring the answer to his prayer and he left heaven on the first day he prayed. On the first day. Because he says this, I've been fighting this angel 21 days. First day you prayed, God sent me with your answer, and I've been fighting the prince over this city to try to get through to you. Is that not amazing? Right there in your Bible.
But you know what happened? Michael showed up and beat the snot out of him. The Archangel Michael showed up. I mean, I was wrestling 21 days. I thought you could have come 20 days ago. But he shows up, then he goes on down. Look at verse 20. Then he said, "Do you know why I've come to you"? Because he's explained, in other words, do you understand what I've told you. "And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia", a prince over a city, a principality, "and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come". I got two suckers I got to fight now. "But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth". This is what's noted in the Scripture of Truth. "No one upholds me against these, except Michael", watch this carefully, "your prince".
Think about that. He's talking to Daniel, who's a representative of the children of Israel, the people of God. And let me tell you what the scripture says, No one upholds me, no one helps me against these, except your prince. You have a prince. By the way, if you think, "Well, that's exciting. Michael's our prince". Oh listen, let me say something more exciting than that. We know the Prince of Peace. You want to talk about a prince fighting for us, the only begotten of the Father fights for us. He's our Prince. So he's fighting. So let me show you another example of demonic forces over a city. Okay? This is Mark 5. In Mark 5, we call it the deliverance of the Gadarene demoniac. The reason we call him 'the Gadarene demoniac' is because he was from Gadara, so he was Gadarene. Alright? He was from Gadara. Gadara is one of the ten Greek cities at the time of Christ. It's referred to in scripture as the Decapolis. Polis again refers to city. Deca is ten in Greek. So, it's ten cities. And so Gadara is one of these ten cities.
So Jesus goes over and there's a demonic man there, and he's setting him free, but he talks to the demon in this man. And watch what this demonic spirit says. Jesus said to him, Mark 5:8. For He, capital H, Jesus, said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit"! Then he asked him, "What is your name"? And he answered saying, "My name is Legion;" Let me just, I'll just stop and go ahead and clarify that. Legion was a Roman word that meant six thousand soldiers. So he said, "My name is Legion". And it means six thousand. Some will say four to six thousand but most historical documents will always say it's six thousand. Six thousand. "My name is Legion; for we are many". Also, he begged him, this is what many people miss from this passage, earnestly, that he, Jesus, watch, "would not send them out of the country". Why?
I'm telling you, so many people miss this, right there in the scripture. Legion, this ruler of demons, a prince, over six thousand demons. Jesus is gonna cast him out of a man, and he begs him earnestly, don't send us out of this country, out of this region, out of this city. Why? Because they had strongholds in that country. They had been building up strongholds. This is very important to understand. Satan has been building strongholds in America for years. For years. But we, as believers, can come against those strongholds in prayer. God can reveal those strongholds to us. When God called us to Southlake to plant... And I'm not trying to say something negative about the city, but God showed me two strongholds in this area, and they were pride and greed. And isn't it amazing that Gateway Church came in with the spirit of humility and generosity? The opposite spirits. And God broke that stronghold. So there can be a stronghold.
Now, I wanna just take one stronghold that Satan has been working on in America because America was founded, and you can look it up, William Bradford stood on Plymouth Rock and said, "We found this nation for the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ". Is it a perfect nation? By far, no. No way. Absolutely not. No way, okay? But it was founded where all were created equal, this is what they put, all are created equal by their Creator and endowed with certain inalienable rights by their Creator. Life, liberty, which should be freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. Now, obviously, we've been on a long road in that area. I understand that. But America was founded for the right purpose. And it's the longest-running government in the history of the world. Most governments have an average of fifteen to twenty years, and we're over two hundred and forty now.
So it's incredible because it was founded, not perfectly. Please don't hear me say that, not perfectly, very imperfectly by imperfect humans. But the principles were right. So Satan has been trying to tear down because this is... Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly. That's the First Amendment. First Amendment. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly, to assemble. So, Satan's been trying to tear down freedom. So I just want to say one stronghold and you need to understand because some of you might tend toward saying, "We need to be a little more this way". But I want to just beg you, plead with you to study it. And here's a stronghold that Satan has been working on our nation, and that's socialism. Thirty percent. 30% of Americans under the age of thirty-five say they're in favor of socialism. 98% of those that say they're in favor could not define it. Could not define it. And their definition was wrong, whatever they said.
The number-one tenet of socialism, just study it, simple. Number-one tenet is no private property. No private property. The young people who are saying they're in favor of it are talking on their cell phones. No. No private property. None. And this is what they feel like that it stands for. This is what's their number one answer, free education, and free medical help. Free education, free medicine. Let me tell you why that's a lie, it's not free. It's not free. Most socialist countries' tax rate: 57%. I don't know what you make, just do it in your head, but just do 50% to make it easy math. If you make $50,000, do you want to pay $25,000 in taxes? That's called free education. That's called free medical. It's free.
By the way, this free education, socialist countries, the government tells you how far you can be educated by testing you. So if you don't test high enough, they can say, "No, you don't get to go to college. You're gonna be a factory worker". That's socialism. Socialism has never worked in any nation in the world. There are a few nations now that say they're still under a socialistic government. But what they did, listen to what they did, they allowed individuals to own property and to have business. That's called capitalism. Capital.
Capitalism comes from the word capital. It means property. It's the only way it works anywhere in the world. So it's not socialism. There are so many lies about it, and I'm not gonna preach the whole message on it. But just so you know, the only countries in the world that have experienced genocide are communist nations. The only ones. And every communist nation in the world has had genocide. If you don't know what genocide is, it's the killing of people who are different from you, different race, different religion, or disagree with you ideologically. That's what genocide is. In a hundred years, in four communist nations, they killed, conservative estimates, over a hundred million people. And here's what's bothering me. Fifty years ago, I'm fifty-nine.
Fifty years ago, when I was nine years old, we could pray in our schools. We started every morning, saying we believe in one nation under God. And we did not allow abortions. Now, not only do people not believe that life begins at conception. Now, if you read it, all you got to do is read it, they believe that it doesn't even begin at birth. It begins when the doctor certifies you. So a baby is born with a physical or mental defect, they could say, "We can terminate this life". So that's happened in the last fifty years. What's gonna happen in the next fifty? And here's the amazing thing. Please hear me. A lot of people are feeling like, "Well, it's not gonna happen for a long time". The most descriptive verse in the Bible of selfishness is in Isaiah 39. It's when Isaiah goes to Hezekiah and pronounces judgment. And he says, "Here's what's going to happen. Your children and grandchildren are gonna go into bondage", and Hezekiah's response was, "Well, at least there will be peace in my days".
That's sad when Christians say, "Well, I know what's gonna happen to my grandchildren, but I'm not gonna do anything about it". We've got to stand up and we've got to do something about it. And the number one thing we can do is pray. That's the number one thing, we can pray. So, point number one. Point number one is take it seriously. Point number two is don't take it too seriously. You say, "Well you just talked about communism". Okay. No, hang on. I'm not invalidating point one. Here's what I'm saying. Don't get stressed out about it, because we do know, even though there are princes at work, we know the King. So you don't get too stressed out.
I can remember a time when I slacked off in my prayer life, and I said to the Lord, "Lord, why? Why have I slacked off my prayer life"? You know what he said? "Because these problems that you're in your life right now, you don't want to think about them". Out of sight, out of mind. So, you don't even want to pray about them because then you have to think about them. But then he said to me, "Son, I did not design prayer to put a burden on you. I designed prayer to take a burden off of you". So you're not gonna get more stressed out when you pray about stuff, you're gonna get more stressed out when you don't pray about stuff, because you're still carrying the burden. You can only carry a burden as a believer to Jesus' feet. That's as far as you can carry it.
I've told you this before but it bears repeating. We're sheep. Sheep are not burden-bearing animals. You've never heard anyone say, "I'm going on a Safari. I need to rent some pack sheep". We weren't designed for that. Look at this verse. I don't even know where I am. Okay, here it is. Philippians 4:6. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God". Okay. Be anxious for nothing. Let me say it another way. Don't have anxiety over a worldwide pandemic. That's what he just said. Be anxious for nothing, have no anxiety. How are you gonna have no anxiety? Pray. So, be anxious for nothing. "How we gonna do that, God"? Pray about everything. Be anxious for no-thing, how? Pray about every-thing. You just pray about every-thing and you'll be anxious for no-thing.
Remember the word nothing, a combination of two words, no thing. Everything is a combination of two words, every thing. Some people are thinking "Ah. That's good". If you have any anxiety about what's going on in America right now and the world, Pray. Let me show you another verse. Very familiar. 1 Peter 5:7. "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you". Now, this word casting in the Greek is actually two words. The first word is to throw, throw something. But the second word is a burden. So this is what this verse is saying, throw your burdens on Jesus for he cares for you. Throw your burdens on Him. Just throw your burdens on Him. Let me show you an Old Testament verse that I really like. Psalm 55:22. "Cast your burden on the Lord". There it is. Throw your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
Okay, now, notice the people he sustains are the people who cast their burden on him. Cast your burden on him and he will sustain you. Well, what if you keep your burden? Cast your burden and God will sustain you. And then it says, "He will never permit the righteous to be moved". This actually, this verse and one other verse, I think, because it's so similar, inspired an old hymn. I shall, I shall, I shall not be moved. Remember that? Okay. Sorry. See, the older people. "Oh, yeah, I remember that". I shall, I shall, I shall not be moved, like a tree. You don't remember that? Okay, well if you want to hear the the whole hymn, just you can get Hymns by Pastor Robert. It's in the bookstore. So, that will never, never happen by the way. Okay, so how can you... my email was, I'm thinking about you, concerned about you, but I said we need to do two things: hope in God and pray. So how can you hope in God and pray?
I want to go back to Ephesians 6 and I want to show you something that's gonna just absolutely blow you away. This is gonna blow you away, because I'm gonna then combine it with Colossians. Alright? Ephesians 6 where we started, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers". Now, we know that's referring to demonic forces. Alright? We know that. Rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. We know what it's referring to, and it talks about having done all to stand, stand therefore...okay. Principalities and powers. Demonic forces.
Now, I'm gonna ask you a question. Please do not answer out loud. Okay, don't answer out loud. Just answer in your mind, okay? Principalities and powers are demonic forces. Who's the head of demonic forces? Now, hold on. Don't answer out loud. Principalities and powers. Can you say, just say it, please say, "Principalities and powers". Principalities and powers. One more time, "Principalities and powers". Principalities and powers. And those are demonic forces. I'm gonna read you two verses now, that we know these verses and we say them but we don't read the second part of the second verse. We don't say it. We actually quote the first verse and the first part of the second verse, but the second part... Now, principalities and powers are demonic forces. Everyone remember that? Hello? Yes. Okay.
Colossians 2, verse 9. "For in Him", that's Christ, "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power". I'm telling you. He's the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He's the head of all, the whole universe, everything. Jesus and Satan are not fighting. Satan is a created being and Jesus is still the Lord. He's the Lord. He's God. He is God. You don't have to be afraid of the devil. Okay. Bless your name, God. Alright, just keep standing. I had a closing illustration, but it's not that good. Now, it was good, but now it's not that good. Make a note, save this one for another message.
Alright. Close your eyes will you? Ask the Holy Spirit like we do every week. "Lord, what are you saying to me through this message"? Just take a moment. "Lord, what are you saying to me through this message"? There's fear in our nation right now. We do have an international pandemic. We have an election that hasn't been called yet. No matter who you vote for, don't get upset when I say that. It's just a fact. December 14th, January 6th are the next two dates. We have things going on in our nation. We have civil unrest. We have people who are looting and destroying businesses, murdering people, and we have tension and disunity like we've never, probably never had in our nation. And we know the answer. We're the people of God. The answer is not an elephant or a donkey. It's a Lamb. It's a Lamb named Jesus Christ.
So we, the people of God, need to pray. So I want to call us to prayer as a church. I want you to take those first 21 days in January and pray. I want you to pray between now and then. I haven't even mentioned it but the book I wrote, Seven Words of Christmas, is divided into a 21-day time. So you could start 21 days before Christmas and pray over, just pray end-to-end the Christmas season, like an Advent, like many people do around the world. Let's just go into a season of prayer, not anxiety as the people of God.
Lord, I want to tell you, thank you. We know there are principalities and powers in this world. But we thank you that you are Lord. You are still on the throne. You are God and we come to you as the people of God and we pray for our nation. We pray for this pandemic. We pray for a vaccine. We pray for a cure. We pray for divine health. Lord, we pray for every family that's been affected by it. God, we pray for the unrest in our nation. We pray for the strongholds that the enemy is trying to put in our nation against freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. God, we pray God, that you will bring a revival. That's the only thing that's going to help our nation, is a revival of the Holy Spirit and people coming to Christ and coming to faith. So Lord, as the people of God, I pray that you will take this message and light a fire under us that we will come to the throne room of God every day, and we will pray, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Thy kingdom come, in Jesus name. Thy kingdom come. In Jesus' name, amen.